“WITH HARRY KIM’S COMPLIMENTS”
B’Elanna could not sleep that night. Despite the hot shower and her exhausted state. Instead of blessed slumber, she found her thoughts besieged with images of Tom Paris in the shower. Naked.
A sigh escaped B’Elanna’s mouth and she shifted to the right side of her body. More images popped into her head. Reddish-blond chest hair, luxuriant and damp. Chest hair that covered a surprisingly muscular chest. Broad shoulders. A pair of legs that looked pale, but long and sturdy. The long and thick piece of flesh between his . . . B’Elanna sighed once more and shifted to her left.
Then she closed her eyes and to her consternation, relived those moments when she had burst into Harry’s shower. Within the deep recess of her mind, B’Elanna once again stripped off her uniform, strode toward the bathroom and opened the shower door. There stood Tom with rivulets of water pouring down his body. B’Elanna let out a gasp. Yet, instead of reacting in shock, Tom grabbed her by the waist and dragged her into the shower. He then forced his mouth upon her and began to explore it with a thoroughness that left B’Elanna trembling. Both examined each other’s bodies with hands and mouth. And before B’Elanna knew what had happened, Tom slammed her against the wall. He spread her legs and without missing a beat, thrust right into her . . .
B’Elanna’s eyes flew open and she sprung into a sitting position. She became aware of the pillow clutched to her chest. And the fact that she now laid flat on her back, with her legs spread wide open. An exasperated sigh left her mouth. Dammit! Will she ever get any sleep? Even more important, will she ever stop thinking of Tom Paris in the shower, naked?
* * * *
On Deck Four, another senior officer dreamed of the same incident from inside Harry Kim’s quarters. Unlike the Chief Engineer, Tom Paris seemed to enjoy it very much.
Tom recalled the eye-popping sight of a very naked B’Elanna Torres, standing outside Harry’s shower. It had seemed like a dream come true. And in Tom’s dream, like B’Elanna’s, events took a different course from what actually happened.
In Tom’s dream, B’Elanna opened the shower door. The two officers stared at each other in deep shock. And an embarrassed B’Elanna fled from the bathroom. But when Tom ran after her, he did not bother to wrap a towel around his waist. Instead, he caught up with B’Elanna in the living area, drew her into his arms and planted a long and passionate kiss upon her mouth.
Tom briefly stirred in his bed, as his dream continued its erotic course. He and B’Elanna soon found themselves exploring each other’s bodies with hands and kisses. Tom drew her down to the floor and continued his exploration of her body. It was not long before B’Elanna hinted that she wanted more than kisses. Tom gently spread her legs and finally entered her. He reveled in every thrust he gave, while B’Elanna inflicted scratches upon his backside. Scratches that mingled pain with pleasure. And when their lovemaking finally ended with an earth-shattering climax, Tom woke up.
It did not take a genius to guess why his sheets were damp. At least Tom knew why and immediately felt embarrassed. And since he had no desire to spend the rest of the night on those sheets, he slipped out of bed, tossed the sheets into the refresher and replicated new ones. Now, if only he could enjoy a good night’s sleep without dreaming of B’Elanna. But Tom also realized that he needed to speak with her, as soon as possible.
* * * *
The following morning, Tom headed straight to the Mess Hall for breakfast, hoping that he would also find B’Elanna. He was in luck. Not only was the Chief Engineer in the Mess Hall, she was alone, sitting at a corner table and staring at the stars beyond the viewport.
“B’Elanna?” She nearly jumped out of her seat when Tom called her name. He slid into the seat opposite her, ignoring the irritation that flashed in her eyes. “How are you doing, this morning?” he asked.
B’Elanna replied tersely, “Fine.”
“I understand that all of the showers are now working.” Dark eyes glanced sharply at Tom. Ooops! Wrong subject to bring up, he thought. Tom immediately tried to correct his faux pas. “Look B’Elanna, about last night . . .”
“As far as I’m concerned, it never happened.” B’Elanna’s gaze returned to the viewport.
Frustrated, Tom sighed. He hated it when the half-Klingon resorted to her usually “memory laspses” whenever she tried to avoid any particular topic. “It did happen, B’Elanna!” Tom retorted. “Harry gave us permission to use his shower at the same time, without realizing it. And we both saw each other . . . in the flesh. This is the 24th century. We have nothing to be ashamed of. Granted, you’ve got a great body, but yours is not the first naked one I’ve ever seen.” Tom paused, expecting a response – volcanic or otherwise.
Instead, B’Elanna’s dark eyes grew wide. “Great . . . I have a great body?” Her voice registered shock. Surprise. And she seemed a little flattered.
“Uh, yeah,” Tom replied softly. “One of the best I’ve ever . . .” Aware of the possibility of eavesdroppers, Tom bit off his last words. “Never mind. What I’m trying to say is that what happened last night is nothing to get upset over. We’re both adults. Surely we can handle seeing each other, naked. We should just accept that it happened and move on.”
A crimson flush crept up B’Elanna’s face. “Of course. You’re right. We should just move on.” She took a deep breath. “And by the way, you’ve got a . . .” Her face became even more flushed.
Tom’s eyes widened in anticipation of a compliment. “Yes?”
B’Elanna paused momentarily, before a slight smirk touched her lips. “I was about to say that you’ve got a pretty decent body, yourself.”
“Decent?” Tom frowned. Did she just say ‘decent’? “Is that all? Just decent?”
Innocence poured out of B’Elanna’s eyes. “Well, to be honest, Tom, you’re not exactly Ensign Larson. Or Ensign Murphy. Now, those two are really built. No wonder they’re popular . . .”
“Okay, I get the picture,” Tom grumbled. “Larson and Murphy. Thanks a lot.”
B’Elanna smiled. “My pleasure.” Her smile widened, as a pout formed on Tom’s lips. “Oh, come on, Tom. There’s no need to pout. You still have a nice body, all the same.”
“Just nice?” Tom gave B’Elanna the full impact of the Paris orbs. “Considering the way you were staring at me, I figured . . .”
The smile disappeared from B’Elanna’s lips. Her eyes narrowed dangerously. “Look here, Flyboy,” she growled, “I don’t recall staring at you or anyone else. So, I suggest you stop it right here and get the filth out of your mind.”
“What filth?” Tom allowed himself a brief smile.
B’Elanna added pointedly, “I’m already pissed at Harry for what happened. Don’t make me add you to my shit list.”
Harry. Tom almost forgot about the Operations Chief. Almost. “Speaking of Harry . . .”
Tom continued, “Do you think he had deliberately set us up, last night?”
B’Elanna shook her head. “Not Starfleet. He might be naïve at times, but not suicidal. Besides, he did seem a bit tired.”
At that moment, Neelix approached their table, carrying a pot of coffee. Tom shot a glance at his cup and was relieved to find it already filled with replicated coffee. Which meant he would be spared from the Delta Quadrant variety, thank goodness.
“Hello, you two! Enjoying your morning meal?” Neelix’s orange eyes sparkled with life. He seemed to be in a good mood. Almost fey.
Tom stared at him. “What’s brightened your morning, Neelix?”
“You two,” the Talaxian replied. He offered B’Elanna some coffee, but the latter immediately shook her head. “Seeing you together like this, gives me hope for love.”
Tom and B’Elanna exchanged confused looks, before they stared at Neelix. “What are you talking about?” B’Elanna demanded.
“Well, the both of you. Sitting at breakfast together.” Neelix sat in the chair next to Tom. “Ensign Kim told me about his little matchmaking scheme for you two. He didn’t exactly give me any details, but he told me that by today, you would be a couple. And here you are.”
B’Elanna opened her mouth. And judging by her expression, Tom realized that she was about to display that famous temper of hers. He gave her a warning kick to the shin. Dark brown eyes blazed with near rage, as B’Elanna immediately closed her mouth. Tom ignored the look and said to Neelix, “We know all about Harry’s little scheme, Neelix. It didn’t work out.”
“Oh. Too bad.” The Talaxian looked disappointed. Then another idea came to him. “I hope you’re not to angry at Harry. He was only trying to help.”
Tom smiled. “We know. And we’re not angry.”
“Says you,” B’Elanna mumbled. Fortunately, only Tom overheard.
The pilot continued, “In fact, we confronted Harry about it, last night.”
“Oh. Oh, well. I guess some of us aren’t meant to be.” A brief sadness overshadowed his eyes. Tom realized that he was thinking of his aborted relationship with the ship’s medical assistant and only Ocampan. Tom gave Neelix a comforting squeeze on the shoulder, before the latter returned to galley.
Once the Talaxian was out of earshot, B’Elanna whirled upon the pilot with blazing eyes. “What the hell was that kick about?”
“To stop you from letting the cat out of the bag,” Tom calmly replied.
“The cat? What the hell are you talking about?
Tom explained that the moment Neelix had revealed Harry’s matchmaking scheme, he had thought of a way to pay back the young ensign. “And if Neelix knew how we felt, he might tell Harry. Get it?”
Silence ensued. B’Elanna gave Tom a thoughtful stare. “Oh, I see. Not only do you want to teach Harry a lesson, you want to surprise him, as well. And exactly what do you have in mind?”
A cold smile formed on Tom’s lips. “Something that involves a shower. Are you game?”
B’Elanna responded with her own cold smile.
* * * *
It was a happy Operations Chief who finally left the Bridge at the end of Alpha shift. After spending three days on double shifts to repair some of the ship’s systems, Harry felt more than happy to return to his regular schedule. He glanced forward and spotted Pablo Baytart at the Helm. Usually, Harry and Tom would usually accompany each other off the Bridge, but the latter had spent today’s shift giving courses on new flight maneuvers to the other pilots in the Conn Division.
Harry entered the turbolift and ordered the computer to send it to Deck Six. Minutes later, he arrived at his destination and stepped into the corridor. Harry could not wait to reach his quarters and enjoy a nice, long shower. Not a sonic shower, which he usually took in the morning rush; but a long shower with hot water.
Thinking of the shower reminded him of his little matchmaking scheme with Tom and B’Elanna. Much to Harry’s disappointment, it had ended in failure. Tom had reproached him over what happened at the beginning of Alpha shift, but Harry feigned surprise and innocence. He wanted to make sure that Tom or B’Elanna did not suspect him of any scheming on his part. Fortunately, both had believed the whole thing had been an accident and nothing more. He considered the pair to be his closest friends, and because of this, he was very familiar with their natures. Both tend to be volatile and vindictive, when crossed.
Right now, all seemed right with the world. Tom and B’Elanna had no idea that he had deliberately set them up. The ship’s systems were now fully operational. And that meant he no longer had to work double shifts. Feeling very satisfied, Harry finally reached his quarters.
Once inside, he removed his clothes and headed for the shower. “Computer,” he ordered, “initiate the water shower.” The computer complied and water immediately poured out of the shower head. Harry closed his eyes to enjoy the sensation of all that wetness sluicing down his body. Then something happened. The water no longer felt refreshing. Instead, it felt . . . thicker. Gritty. Harry opened his eyes and glanced at his arms. They were green. His arms were green! In fact, his entire body . . . Harry quickly examined his chest, legs and feet. All green!
The young ensign let out a bloodcurling scream and fled the shower. In his panic to reach Sick Bay, Harry raced out of his quarters without the benefit of a towel.
* * * *
Just minutes before Harry’s flight from his shower, his two best friends hovered in an alcove several feet away from his quarters. Close together. Too close, as far as B’Elanna was concerned.
“Listen Tom, could you please not stand so close to me?” she groused in a low voice. “There’s barely any room, here.”
Tom heaved an exasperated sigh. “I’m sorry for the lack of space, but we wouldn’t be suffering from all this crowding if you hadn’t insisted upon hiding here.”
“Well, we just can’t hover in the corridor outside Starfleet’s quarters. People would notice.”
Something like a scoff left Tom’s mouth. “If you say so. Although something tells me that more than caution is involved.”
B’Elanna frowned. She did not care for the insinuation in the pilot’s voice. And the laughter. “What are you talking about?” she demanded.
“I’m talking about your hand that’s on my butt.”
Her cheeks now flaming hot, B’Elanna quickly snatched her hand away. She had no idea that she had been . . .
“. . . week’s Security report should be ready for your perusal by the end of the day,” a familiar voice echoed. B’Elanna immediately recognized Lieutenant Tuvok, the ship’s Security Chief.
Seconds later, the Vulcan emerged from around the corner, along with Captain Janeway. Both B’Elanna and Tom pressed further into the alcove. The auburn-haired captain replied, “It looks as if you’ll be the first. Chakotay is still waiting for . . .”
The doors to Harry’s quarters slid open. A naked figure with green skin burst into the corridor, screaming at the top of his lungs. Harry. “Look at me!” he cried at the two command officers. “Ohmigod! My skin is green! I have to get to Sick Bay!” Then he raced up the corridor before Janeway or Tuvok could speak.
Laughter bubbled within B’Elanna. She had to press her face against Tom’s chest, to keep her laughter in check. B’Elanna felt his body shaking with mirth. As for the Captain and Tuvok, both stood in the middle of the corridor and exchanged shocked expressions.
“I believe that was Ensign Kim, who had just . . .,” the Vulcan officer began in a reflective tone.
Shaking her head in disbelief, Janeway interrupted. “Yes, I know who that was. I think . . . I think we should keep this little incident out of the official logs. Don’t you agree, Tuvok?”
“A very logical decision, Captain.” And the pair continued along the corridor, in Harry’s wake.
The moment Janeway and Tuvok were out of earshot, B’Elanna and Tom burst into loud laughter. “Oh God!” the former declared breathlessly. “Did you see that? Poor Starfleet! Now that was a moment I’ll never forget.”
“This ought to teach him not to play matchmaker,” Tom said between fits of laughter.
“Oh! Maybe we came down on him a little too hard. You think?” Despite her words, B’Elanna did not feel a smidgen of remorse.
And neither did Tom, it seemed. He took a deep breath. “Are you kidding? After that stunt he had pulled on us? I don’t think so. However,” he linked his arm with one of B’Elanna’s and gently steered her along the corridor, “we better get along. Harry may have realized, by now, that he’s in his birthday suit.”
The pair walked along the corridor – in the opposite direction of Harry, the Captain and Tuvok. B’Elanna noticed Tom examining his uniform. “What’s wrong?” she asked.
“It’s nothing. Just a hole in my uniform.” Tom paused and smiled at B’Elanna. “Thanks to you.”
The Chief Engineer’s face grew hot with embarrassment. “Sorry about that. It was the only way I could keep from laughing aloud.”
“Uh-huh. If I didn’t know any better, I would swear that you got a big thrill out of it. Are you in the habit of biting someone else’s chest . . . Chief?”
B’Elanna glared at her companion. Pig! She snatched her arm away from Tom’s. “I told you that I . . .” Tom’s blue eyes twinkled with mischief. B’Elanna now felt even more embarrassed. Until she reminded herself that two could play games. She gave him a sweet smile. “Maybe I did get a thrill out of it.” Tom’s eyes now grew wide. “Of course, I got an even bigger thrill from Harry.”
Blue eyes narrowed. “Harry?”
“You know, Harry. Fresh-faced kid just over two years out of the Academy, Harry Kim. I must admit that I never realized he was so well-endo . . .”
Tom immediately interrupted. “I think I got the picture!” His face turned red, much to B’Elanna’s delight. “Of all the people! Harry Kim!”
B’Elanna allowed herself a small smile. There was nothing, she decided, more enjoyable than deflating a man’s ego. Especially one that belonged to Tom Paris. To be honest, on the matter of endowments, Tom had nothing to worry about. Not from Harry or any other man she could think of. But she would be damned if she ever told him.
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